Apple Closing Down Lala May 31st

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Music streaming site Lala will shut down on May 31st, 2010, just over six months after being acquired by Apple. Lala informed members today that the service — which allowed users to access and stream their music library as well as purchase songs — was also no longer accepting new members. When Apple bought Lala in December 2009 for an undisclosed sum, industry observers theorized the computer giant wanted the Lala team to adapt their "cloud-based" streaming technology (which allows websites to embed Lala's music library) for Apple's own iTunes music store.

"In appreciation of your support over the last five years, you will receive a credit in the amount of your Lala web song purchases for use on Apple's iTunes Store," a statement on Lala informed members this morning. "As of today, web songs, wallets, and gift cards are no longer available for purchase on Lala. Uploads have been discontinued, and we are not accepting new users for the service."

Lala began in 2006 as a membership-only compact disc trading service before segueing into an MP3 streaming site the next year. Warner Music became a minority stakeholder in the company and the Lala music library expanded to approximately eight million songs. However, just as websites began embracing Lala's "cloud-based" technology, Apple swooped in and purchased the company. In late October 2009, Google partnered with Lala to provide users with a way of instantly playing a searched song; after one free full play, users could listen to 30 seconds of the song on subsequent clicks.

While it's unconfirmed whether Apple has plans to launch an iTunes.com that will operate similarly to Lala, as TechCrunch speculates, Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference takes place on June 7th — just a week after Lala's closure.

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